10 books like The Cooking Gene

By Michael W. Twitty,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Cooking Gene. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Circe

By Madeline Miller,

Book cover of Circe

I’m obsessed with books that can depict the wonder, glory, and awfulness of womanhood. The beauty of it all alongside the pain and the suffering and the toil of it all. Madeline Miller takes a goddess and tells her story so truthfully, and with such grace, that it makes you question every retelling of history you’ve ever heard. It forces you to ask the question, if the Greek Gods got it so wrong, who else did? Circe is a work of art and you won’t be able to put it down. It left me wanting so much more of her. I was bereft when I turned the final page. 

Circe

By Madeline Miller,

Why should I read it?

23 authors picked Circe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The international Number One bestseller from the author of The Song of Achilles, shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction

Woman. Witch. Myth. Mortal. Outcast. Lover. Destroyer. Survivor. CIRCE.

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. Circe is a strange child - not powerful and terrible, like her father, nor gorgeous and mercenary like her mother. Scorned and rejected, Circe grows up in the shadows, at home in neither the world of gods or mortals. But Circe has a dark power of her own: witchcraft. When her gift threatens…


James Baldwin

By Toni Morrison, Toni Morrison, James Baldwin

Book cover of James Baldwin: Collected Essays

I am recommending this book because one can’t understand power without being beholden to it systemically and repeatedly, all the while dissecting power’s discontents. Baldwin’s words may seem to strike only to America’s core, but every marginalized person will find truth in them. As an Egyptologist, I rely on Baldwin to tell me what oppressed people in an authoritarian regime thought but could not commit to paper.

James Baldwin

By Toni Morrison, Toni Morrison, James Baldwin

Why should I read it?

1 author picked James Baldwin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

James Baldwin was a uniquely prophetic voice in American letters. His brilliant and provocative essays made him the literary voice of the Civil Rights Era, and they continue to speak with powerful urgency to us today, whether in the swirling debate over the Black Lives Matter movement or in the words of Raoul Peck's documentary "I Am Not Your Negro." Edited by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, the Library of America's Collected Essays is the most comprehensive gathering of Baldwin's nonfiction ever published.

With burning passion and jabbing, epigrammatic wit, Baldwin fearlessly articulated issues of race and democracy and American identity…


The Matter of History

By Timothy J. Lecain,

Book cover of The Matter of History

I am recommending this volume because it shocked me with its ability to nestle humans into the world as an integral part of the natural world, not separate from it, not rulers over it, but clever animals that need the Earth more than the Earth needs us. It helps me to undercut the manufactured power of the divinely ordained rulers from ancient Egypt.

The Matter of History

By Timothy J. Lecain,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Matter of History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New insights into the microbiome, epigenetics, and cognition are radically challenging our very idea of what it means to be 'human', while an explosion of neo-materialist thinking in the humanities has fostered a renewed appreciation of the formative powers of a dynamic material environment. The Matter of History brings these scientific and humanistic ideas together to develop a bold, new post-anthropocentric understanding of the past, one that reveals how powerful organisms and things help to create humans in all their dimensions, biological, social, and cultural. Timothy J. LeCain combines cutting-edge theory and detailed empirical analysis to explain the extraordinary late-nineteenth…


Seeing Like a State

By James C. Scott,

Book cover of Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed

Have you ever wondered why we can’t just make the world better? Sure, we’ve made enormous strides in agriculture and medicine over the past few centuries. We can generate electricity and move around the world in a day. We can feed and heal people. But why haven’t we just sat down and figured out the right way to live? Planned it all out on a clean sheet, like an architect.

Seeing Like a State is a book about why it’s impossible for ambitious programs of top-down control to succeed, and why they so often end up with millions of people dead. The world is always more complicated than the maps you make of it, and in a lot of situations, it turns out that complexity matters. You can’t design and build the perfect city. You have to grow it.  

This book matters to me as an artist because it…

Seeing Like a State

By James C. Scott,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Seeing Like a State as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"One of the most profound and illuminating studies of this century to have been published in recent decades."-John Gray, New York Times Book Review

"A powerful, and in many insightful, explanation as to why grandiose programs of social reform, not to mention revolution, so often end in tragedy. . . . An important critique of visionary state planning."-Robert Heilbroner, Lingua Franca

Hailed as "a magisterial critique of top-down social planning" by the New York Times, this essential work analyzes disasters from Russia to Tanzania to uncover why states so often fail-sometimes catastrophically-in grand efforts to engineer their society or their…


Blood, Bones & Butter

By Gabrielle Hamilton,

Book cover of Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef

Gabrielle Hamilton isn’t just a ‘reluctant chef’ (in her own words), she’s also an absolutely exquisite writer (her MFA really paid off!). Her memoir traces her life and love of food from her New Jersey childhood, through her many professional ups and downs and international travels (I especially love the parts where she’s staying at her Italian mother-in-law’s home, describing the incredible produce she was able to get. Oh, the tomatoes!) Did I extra love this because she grew up in the same small town I was born in? Maybe, but it’s a wonderful book no matter where you’re from.

Blood, Bones & Butter

By Gabrielle Hamilton,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Blood, Bones & Butter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Magnificent' Anthony Bourdain

A sharply crafted and unflinchingly honest memoir. This is a rollicking, passionate story of food, purpose and family.

Blood, Bones & Butter follows the chef Gabrielle Hamilton's extraordinary journey through the places she has inhabited over the years: the rural kitchen of her childhood, where her adored mother stood over the six-burner with wooden spoon in hand; the kitchens of France, Greece, and Turkey, where she was often fed by complete strangers and learned the essence of hospitality; and the kitchen of her beloved Italian mother-in-law, who serves as the link between Hamilton's idyllic past and her…


Kitchen Confidential

By Anthony Bourdain,

Book cover of Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

This is a nonfiction book, but it’s the late Anthony Bourdain’s expose on what goes on in restaurants from the chef’s perspective. It was both fascinating and shocking to learn about the almost savage relationships between the members of the kitchen staff, from the chef to the line cooks to the dishwashers and servers. There is a tragic foreshadowing, since Bourdain is candid about his drinking and substance abuse during his time as a professional cook. After reading this book, I no longer used jarred garlic because I recall Anthony’s scathing criticism of those who don’t use the fresh kind. It definitely gave me a totally new appreciation for those involved in the restaurant business.

Kitchen Confidential

By Anthony Bourdain,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Kitchen Confidential as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE CLASSIC BESTSELLER: 'The greatest book about food ever written' 'A compelling book with its intriguing mix of clever writing and kitchen patois ... more horrifically gripping than a Stephen King novel' Sunday Times 'Extraordinary ... written with a clarity and a clear-eyed wit to put the professional food-writing fraternity to shame' Observer _____________________________ After twenty-five years of 'sex, drugs, bad behaviour and haute cuisine', chef and novelist Anthony Bourdain decided to tell all - and he meant all. From his first oyster in the Gironde to his lowly position as a dishwasher in a honky-tonk fish restaurant in Provincetown;…


Taste

By Stanley Tucci,

Book cover of Taste: My Life Through Food

Stanley Tucci makes this book personal. He connects to any reader that loves the world of cooking and entertaining friends at his table and who loves to travel, too. He takes the reader into his personal life, not just memories of his good times, but his errors, too. He’s honest. He’s intriguing, letting you know who he truly is. He loves his life, all of it, and he passes that love onto you.

Taste

By Stanley Tucci,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Taste as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE NO.1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

A Guardian book of the year
A Times book of the year
A Daily Mail book of the year

From award-winning actor and food obsessive Stanley Tucci comes an intimate and charming memoir of life in and out of the kitchen. For Stanley and foodie fans, this is the perfect, irresistible gift.

'It's impossible to read this without becoming ravenous!' -- Nigella Lawson

'It is as infectious as it is delicious, as funny as it is insightful. The only reason to put this book down, is to go cook and eat from it' -- Heston…


What Did You Eat Yesterday?

By Fumi Yoshinaga,

Book cover of What Did You Eat Yesterday?

I like to branch out into different genres, and I’ve recently started getting into Manga. This is a really wonderful series about a gay couple—one of whom loves to try out new dishes the other is always eager to try—whose relationship deepens over the meals they enjoy together. It’s something that really touched a chord in me, as someone who also uses food as a love language.

What Did You Eat Yesterday?

By Fumi Yoshinaga,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What Did You Eat Yesterday? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From award-winning author Fumi Yoshinaga comes a casual romance between two middle-aged men and the many meals they share together.

A hard-working middle-aged gay couple in Tokyo come to enjoy the finer moments of life through food. After long days at work, either in the law firm or the hair salon, Shiro and Kenji will always have down time together by the dinner table, where they can discuss their troubles, hash out their feelings and enjoy delicately prepared home cooked meals!


Soul Food Sunday

By Winsome Bingham, C.G. Esperanza (illustrator),

Book cover of Soul Food Sunday

This is absolutely a new classic - an award-winning coming-of-age story about the Sunday a soul food cooking grandmother finally opens up her culinary secrets to the next generation. Winsome Bingham’s vivid language is perfectly matched with C.G. Esperanza’s electric illustrations. I also appreciate the tiny details like the uncle who watches the football game on an itty bitty TV. Brings me back (kids will never understand that pre-smartphone life!) And apparently, the mac n’ cheese recipe is on point, so don’t miss that.

Soul Food Sunday

By Winsome Bingham, C.G. Esperanza (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Soul Food Sunday as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Granny teaches her grandson to cook the family meal in this loving celebration of food, traditions, and gathering together at the table

On Sundays, everyone gathers at Granny's for Soul Food.
But today, I don't go to the backyard or the great room.
I follow Granny instead.
"You're a big boy now," Granny says. "Time for you to learn."

At Granny's, Sunday isn't Sunday without a big family gathering over a lovingly prepared meal. Old enough now, our narrator is finally invited to help cook the dishes for the first time: He joins Granny in grating the cheese, cleaning the…


Food in the Civil War Era

By Helen Zoe Veit,

Book cover of Food in the Civil War Era

Of the many reference resources we encountered in the midst of our obsessive research for our Little Women Cookbook, this one was a favorite (along with the incomparable YHF). It’s just so satisfying to find the perfect book for a project, isn’t it? When we first started out, we thought, “We’d be so lucky to find anything about food from the Civil War era that doesn’t focus on soldiers’ rations, rich people, or the South — especially if it touches on the role of women in everyday culinary culture.” And as if our local university library were a magical genie who heard my wish, there this book was.

In Food in the Civil War Era: The North, editor Helen Zoe Veit provides a bit of background so you can understand the trends behind five Civil War-era cookbooks. Her engaging commentary made this one a surprisingly quick read.…

Food in the Civil War Era

By Helen Zoe Veit,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Food in the Civil War Era as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Cookbooks offer a unique and valuable way to examine American life. Their lessons, however, are not always obvious. Direct references to the American Civil War were rare in cookbooks, even in those published right in the middle of it. In part, this is a reminder that lives went on and that dinner still appeared on most tables most nights, no matter how much the world was changing outside. But people accustomed to thinking of cookbooks as a source for recipes, and not much else, can be surprised by how much information they can reveal about the daily lives and ways…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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